Jason Reynolds Says He Wrote Miles Morales So “Kids Who Look Like Me…Can Be Superheroes Too”

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Jason Reynolds, the author of All American Boys, Ghost, Long Way Down, and Miles Morales appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers to talk about his YA Spider-Man book and a recent experience shopping at Gucci in Italy.

Spider-Man’s struggle with being a superhero is a key part of his character, and Reynold’s Miles Morales shows the boy struggling with whether “kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes” along with “the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher’s lectures on the historical benefits of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system.” 

When asked whether he took on the project because of his passion for representation, Reynolds says, “Of course, so I wrote the Miles Morales novel and I took it on for that very reason. At the end of the day, I got the phone call. They said, ‘We want you to write Spider-Man.’ I said, ‘Eh, I’m not really interested.’ Then they said, ‘We want you to write Miles Morales and he’s Afro-Latino,’ and I was like, ‘Eh, you know…I’m a little more interested.'”

“And the reason why is because I think that kids who look like me and who live in neighborhoods like I grew up in deserve to know that they also can be super. We’re seeing it with Black Panther right? They need to know that they can be superheroes too.”

Meyers also asked Reynolds about his outreach his experiences going to schools and juvenile detention centers across America. When asked if it means the world to them to see representation like Miles Morales, Reynolds responds, “Man, it means the world to them but more so than that, it means the world to me. I think we underestimate what we can glean from our young people who are going through all sorts of different circumstances.”

On seeing young people in maximum-security prisons, the writer continues, “to look in their faces and to still see innocence is encouraging and it gives me hope that it doesn’t matter what you go through you can maintain a sense of integrity. You can maintain a sense of personhood and of humanity even if the rest of the world doesn’t always see it.”

You can check our Reynold’s Miles Morales here.

(image: screencap)

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